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The lucky piece


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Title:TheLuckyPiece
ATaleoftheNorthWoods
Author:AlbertBigelowPaine
ReleaseDate:February11,2012[EBook#38833]
Language:English

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THELUCKYPIECE
ATALEOFTHENORTHWOODS


BYALBERTBIGELOWPAINE
AUTHOROF"THEVANDWELLERS,""THEBREADLINE,"
"THEGREATWHITEWAY,"ETC.
FRONTISPIECEINCOLOR
NEWYORK
THEOUTINGPUBLISHINGCOMPANY
1906
COPYRIGHT,1906,BY
THEOUTINGPUBLISHINGCOMPANY
COPYRIGHT,1905,BY
THEBUTTERICKPUBLISHINGCOMPANY
ThisEditionPublishedMarch,1906

Heclimbeddowncarefullyandsecuredhistreasure.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER

PAGE
PROLOGUE
1
1 BUTPALADINSRIDEFARBETWEEN
6
2 OUTINTHEBLOWYWETWEATHER
18
3 THEDEEPWOODSOFENCHANTMENT
34
4 ABRIEFLECTUREANDSOMEINTRODUCTIONS
48
5 AFLOWERONAMOUNTAINTOP
66
6 INTHE"DEVIL'SGARDEN"
80
7 THEPATHTHATLEADSBACKTOBOYHOOD
99


8 WHATCAMEOUTOFTHEMIST
115
9 ASHELTERINTHEFOREST
134
10 THEHERMIT'SSTORY
148
11 DURINGTHEABSENCEOFCONSTANCE
166
12 CONSTANCERETURNSANDHEARSASTORY
183
13 WHATTHESMALLWOMANINBLACKSAW
193
14 WHATMISSCARROWAYDID
208
15 EDITHANDFRANK
219
16 THELUCKYPIECE
233
EPILOGUE
250


THELUCKYPIECE


PROLOGUE
There is a sharp turn just above the hill. The North Elba stage sometimes
hesitatestherebeforetakingtheplungeintothevalleybelow.
ButthiswaslateSeptember.Themorningwasbrisk,themountainsglorified,the
tourists were going home. The four clattering, snorting horses swung into the
turnandmadestraightforthebrow—thestout,ruddy-faceddriverholdinghard
on the lines, but making no further effort to check them. Then the boy in the
frontseatgavehisusual"Hey!lookthere!"and,theotherpassengersobeying,as
theyalwaysdid,sawsomethingnotespeciallyrelatedtoAlgonquin,orTahawus,
orWhiteface—thegreatmountainswhoseslopeswereablazewithautumn,their
peaks already tipped with snow—that was not, indeed, altogether Adirondack
scenery. Where the bend came, at the brink, a little weather-beaten cottage
cornered—aplacewithappletreesandsomefadedsummerflowers.Intheroad
in front was a broad flat stone, and upon it a single figure—a little girl of not
morethaneight—herarmextendedtowardtheapproachingstage,inherhanda
saucerofberries.
Thetouristshadpassedanumberofchildrenalready,butthisonewasdifferent.
Theothershadbeenmostlyinflocks—soiled,stringy-hairedlittlemountaineers,
whohadgatheredtoseethestagegoby.Thesmooth,ovalfaceofthischild,rich
under the tan, was clean, the dark hair closely brushed—her dress a simple
garment,thoughofafashionunfavoredbythepeopleofthehills.Allthiscould
be comprehended in the brief glance allowed the passengers; also the deep
wistfullookwhichfollowedthemasthestagewhirledbywithoutstopping.
A lady in the back seat (she had been in Italy) murmured something about a
"childMadonna."Anothersaid,"Poorlittlething!"
Buttheboyinthefrontseathadcaughtthedriver'sarmandwasdemandingthat
hestopthestage.
"Iwanttogetout!"herepeated,withdetermination."Iwanttobuythoseberries!
Stop!"
Thedrivercouldnotstopjustthere,evenhadhewishedtodoso,whichhedid
not. They were already a third of the way down, and the hill was a serious


matter.Sotheboyleanedout,lookingback,tomakesurethemoment'svision
hadnotfaded,andwhenthestagestrucklevelground,wasoutandrunning,long
beforethehorseshadbeenbroughttoastand-still.
"Youwaitforme!"hecommanded."I'llbebackinasecond!"Thenhepushed
rapidlyupthelonghill,feelinginhispocketsasheran.
The child had not moved from her place, and stood curiously regarding the
approachingboy.Hewasconsiderablyolderthanshewas,asmuchassixyears.
Her wistful look gave way to one of timidity as he came near. She drew the
saucer of berries close to her and looked down. Then, puffing and panting, he
stoodthere,stillrummaginginhispockets,andregainingbreathforwords.
"Say," he began, "I want your berries, you know, only, you see, I—I thought I
hadsomemoney,butIhaven't—notacent—onlymyluckypiece.Mymother's
inthestageandIcouldgetitfromher,butIdon'twanttogoback."Hemadea
final, wild, hopeless search through a number of pockets, looking down,
meanwhile,atthelittlebowedfigurestandingmutelybeforehim."Lookhere,"
hewenton,"I'mgoingtogiveyoumyluckypiece.Maybeit'llbringlucktoyou,
too. It did to me—I caught an awful lot of fish up here this summer. But you
mustn'tspenditorgiveitaway,'causesomedaywhenIcomebackuphereI'll
want it again. You keep it for me—that's what you do. Keep it safe. When I
comeback,I'llgiveyouanythingyoulikeforit.Whateveryouwant—onlyyou
mustkeepit.Willyou?"
HeheldoutthewornSpanishsilverpiecewhichaschoolchumhadgivenhim
"forluck"whentheyhadpartedinJune.Butthelittlebrownhandclungtothe
berriesandmadenoefforttotakeit.
"Oh,youmusttakeit,"hesaid."Ishouldloseitanyway.Ialwayslosethings.
You can take care of it for me. Likely I'll be up again next year. Anyway, I'll
comesometime,andwhenIdoI'llgiveyouwhateveryoulikeinexchangefor
it."
Shedidnotresistwhenhetooktheberriesandpouredthemintohiscap.Then
thecoinwaspushedintooneofherbrownhandsandhewaspressingherfingers
tightlyuponit.Whenshedaredtolookup,hehadcalled,"Good-bye!"andwas
halfwaydownthehill,theotherslookingoutofthestage,wavinghimtohurry.
Shewatchedhim,sawhimclimbinwiththedriverandflinghishandtowardher
asthestageroundedintothewoodanddisappeared.Stillshedidnotmove,but


watchedtheplacewhereithadvanished,asifshethoughtitmightreappear,asif
presently that sturdy boy might come hurrying up the hill. Then slowly—very
slowly, as if she held some living object that might escape—she unclosed her
handandlookedatthetreasurewithin,turningitover,wonderingatthecurious
markings.Theoldlookcameintoherfaceagain,butwithitanexpressionwhich
had not been there before. It was some hint of responsibility, of awakening.
Vaguelyshefeltthatsuddenlyandbysomemarveloushappeningshehadbeen
linkedwithanewandwonderfulworld.Allatoncesheturnedandfledthrough
thegate,tothecottage.
"Mother!" she cried at the door, "Oh, Mother! Something has happened!" and,
flingingherselfintothearmsofthefadedwomanwhosatthere,sheburstintoa
passionoftears.


CHAPTERI
BUTPALADINSRIDEFARBETWEEN
Frank rose and, plunging his hands into his pockets, lounged over to the wide
window and gazed out on the wild March storm which was drenching and
dismayingFifthAvenue.Aweavingthrongofcarriages,auto-carsanddelivery
wagonsbeatupanddownagainstit,weredrivenbyitfrombehind,orbuffeted
from many directions at the corners. Coachmen, footmen and drivers huddled
down into their waterproofs; pedestrians tried to breast the rain with their
umbrellasandfrequentlylostthem.Fromwherehestoodtheyoungmancould
countfivetornandtwistedderelictssoakingingutters.Theyseemedsoverywet
—everything did. When a stage—that relic of another day—lumbered by, the
driver on top, only half sheltered by his battered oil-skins, seemed wetter and
more dismal than any other object. It all had an art value, certainly, but there
werepleasanterthingswithin.Theyoungmanturnedtotheluxuriousroom,with
itswideblazingfireandtheyounggirlwhosatlookingintotheglowingdepths.
"Doyouknow,Constance,"hesaid,"Ithinkyouareabithardonme."Thenhe
drifted into a very large and soft chair near her, and, stretching out his legs,
staredcomfortablyintothefireasifthefactwerenosuchseriousmatter,after
all.
Thegirlsmiledquietly.Shehadarichovalface,withadeeplookinhereyes,at
once wistful and eager, and just a bit restless, as if there were problems there
amongthecoals—questionsshecouldnotwhollysolve.
"I did not think of it in that way," she said, "and you should not call me
Constance, not now, and you are Mr. Weatherby. I do not know how we ever
began—theotherway.Iwasonlyagirl,ofcourse,anddidnotknowAmericaso
well,orrealize—agoodmanythings."
Theyoungmanstirredalittlewithoutlookingup.
"Iknow,"heassented;"Irealizethatsixmonthsseemsalongperiodtoa—toa
youngperson,andmakesalotofdifference,sometimes.Ibelieveyouhavehad
abirthdaylately."


"Yes,myeighteenth—mymajority.Thatoughttomakeadifference."
"Minedidn'ttome.I'mjustaboutthesamenowasIwasthen,and——"
"Asyoualwayswillbe.Thatisjustthetrouble."
"Iwasgoingtosay,asIalwayshadbeen."
"Whichwouldnotbetrue.Youweredifferent,asaboy."
"Andwhogaveyouthatimpression,pray?"
Thegirlflushedalittle.
"Imean,youmusthavebeen,"sheadded,atrifleinconsequently."Boysalways
are.Youhadambitions,then."
"Well,yes,andIgratifiedthem.Iwantedtobecaptainofmycollegeteam,andI
was.WeheldthechampionshipaslongasIheldtheplace.Iwantedtomakea
recordinpole-vaulting,andIdid.Ithasn'tbeenbeatensince.ThenIwantedthe
Half-mileCup,andIwonthat,too.Ithinkthoseweremychiefaspirationswhen
Ienteredcollege,andwhenIcameouttherewerenomoreworldstoconquer.
Incidentally I carried off the honors for putting into American some of Mr.
Horace's justly popular odes, edited the college paper for a year, and was
valedictorianoftheclass.Butthoseweretrivialthings.Itwasmyprowessthat
gave me standing and will remain one of the old school's traditions long after
thisfleshhasbecomedust."
Thegirl'seyeshadgrownbrighterasherecountedhisachievements.Shecould
not help stealing a glance of admiration at the handsome fellow stretched out
before her, whose athletic deeds had made him honored among his kind. Then
shesmiled.
"Perhapsyouwereapillarofmodesty,too,"shecommented,"once."
Helaughed—agentle,lazylaughinwhichshejoined—andpresentlysheadded:
"Ofcourse,Iknowyoudidthosethings.Thatisjustit.Youcoulddoanything,
andbeanything,ifyouonlywould.Oh,butyoudon'tseemtocare!Youseem
satisfied,comfortableandgood-naturedlyindifferent;ifyouwerepoor,Ishould
say idle—I suppose the trouble is there. You have never been poor and lonely
and learned to want things. So, of course, you never learned to care for—for
anything."


Her companion leaned toward her—his handsome face full of a light that was
notallofthefire.
"Ihave,foryou,"hewhispered.
The girl's face lighted, too. Her eyes seemed to look into some golden land
whichshewasnotquitewillingtoenter.
"No,"shedemurredgently."Iamnotsureofthat.Letusforgetaboutthat.As
you say, a half-year has been a long time—to a child. I had just come from
abroadthenwithmyparents,andIhadbeenmostofthetimeinaschoolwhere
girls are just children, no matter what their ages. When we came home, I
suppose I did not know just what to do with my freedom. And then, you see,
FatherandMotherlikedyou,andletyoucometothehouse,andwhenIfirstsaw
youandknewyou—whenIgottoknowyou,Imean—Iwasgladtohaveyou
come,too.ThenwerodeanddroveandgolfedallthosedaysaboutLenox—all
thosedays—yourmemoryispoor,verypoor,butyoumayrecallthoseOctober
days,lastyear,whenIhadjustcomehome—thosedays,youknow——"
Again the girl's eyes were looking far into a fair land which queens have
willinglydiedtoenter,whiletheyoungmanhadpulledhischairclose,asone
eagertoleadheracrosstheborder.
"No,"shewenton—speakingmoretoherselfthan tohim,"Iam older,now—
agesolder,andtryingtogrowwise,andtoseethingsastheyare.Riding,driving
andgolfingarenotalloflife.Lifeisserious—asortofbattle,inwhichonemust
either lead or follow or merely look on. You were not made to follow, and I
couldnotbeartohaveyoulookon.Ialwaysthoughtofyouasaleader.During
thosedaysatLenoxyouseemedtomeasortofking,orsomethinglikethat,at
play.YouseeIwasjustaschoolgirlwithideals,keepingtheshieldofLauncelot
bright.Ihadidealizedhimsolong—theoneIshouldmeetsomeday.Itwasall
very foolish, but I had pictured him as a paladin in armor, who would have
diversions, too, but who would lay them aside to go forth and redress wrong.
You see what a silly child I was, and how necessary it was for me to change
whenIfoundthatIhadbeendreaming,thattheoneIhadmetneverexpectedto
conquerordobattleforacause—thatthediversionsweretheendandsumofhis
desire,withmaybealittlelove-makingasapartofitall."
"Alittle—"Hercompanionstartedtoenterprotest,butdidnotcontinue.Thegirl
was staring into the fire as she spoke and seemed only to half remember his
existence. For the most part he had known her as one full of the very joy of


living,giventoseeinglifefromitscheerful,oftenfromitshumorous,side.Yet
heknewhertobevolatile,acreatureofmoods.Thisone,whichhehadlearned
toknowbutlately,wouldpass.Hewatchedher,alittletroubledyetfascinated
byitall,hiswholebeingstirredbythecharmofherpresence.
"Onesostrong—soqualified—shouldlead,"shecontinuedslowly,"notmerely
lookon.Oh,ifIwereamanIshouldlead—Ishouldridetovictory!Ishouldbe
a—a—I do not know what," she concluded helplessly, "but I should ride to
victory."
Herestrainedanyimpulsehemayhavehadtosmile,andpresentlysaid,rather
quietly:
"Isupposethereareavenuesofconquestto-day,astherewerewhentheworld
was young. But I am afraid they are so crowded with the rank and file that
paladinsridefewandfarbetween.Youknow,"headded,morelightly,"knighterrantryhasgoneoutoffashion,andarmorwouldbeaclumsythingtowear—
crossingBroadway,forinstance."
Shelaughedhappily—hersenseofhumorwasneververydeeplyburied.
"Iknow,"shenodded,"wedonotmeetmanyGalahadsthesedays,andmostof
the armor is make-believe, yet I am sure there are knights whom we do not
recognize,witharmorwhichwedonotsee."
Theyoungmansatupabitstraighterinhischairandassumedamorematter-offacttone.
"Supposeweputasideallegory,"hesaid,"anddiscussjusthowyouthinkaman
—myself, for instance—could set the world afire—make it wiser and better, I
mean."
The embers were dying down, and she looked into them a little longer before
replying.Then,presently:
"Oh,ifIwereonlyaman!"sherepeated."Thereissomuch—somanythings—
for a man to do. Discovery, science, feats of engineering, the professions, the
arts,philanthropy—oh,everything!Andforus,solittle!"
A look of amusement grew about the young man's mouth. He had seen much
moreoftheworldthanshe;wasmucholderinamannernotreckonedbyyears.


"Wedonotmonopolizeitall,youknow.Quiteafewwomenareengagedinthe
professionsandphilanthropy;manyinthearts."
"The arts, yes, but I am without talent. I play because I have been taught, and
because I have practiced—oh, so hard! But God never intended that the world
shouldhearme.Ilovepaintingandliterature,andallthosethings.ButIcannot
create them. I can only look on. I have thought of the professions—I have
thoughtagreatdealaboutmedicineandthelaw.ButIamafraidthosewouldnot
do,either.Icannotunderstandlawpapers,eventheverysimpleonesFatherhas
tried to explain to me. And I am not careful enough with medicines—I almost
poisonedpoorMammalastweekwithsomethingthatlookedlikeherheadache
dropsandturnedouttobeakindofpreparationforbruises.Besides,somehowI
never can quite see myself as a lawyer in court, or going about as a doctor.
Lawyers always have to go to court, don't they? I am afraid I should be so
confused,andmaybebearrested.Theyarrestlawyersdon'tthey,sometimes?"
"They should," admitted the young man, "more often than they do. I don't
believe you ought to take the risk, at any rate. I somehow can't think of you
eitherasalawyeroradoctor.Thosethingsdon'tseemtofityou."
"That'sjustit.Nothingfitsme.Oh,IamnotevenasmuchasIseemtobe,yet
can be nothing else!" she burst out rather incoherently, then somewhat hastily
added:"Thereisphilanthropy,ofcourse.Icoulddogood,Isuppose,andFather
wouldfurnishthemoney.ButIcouldneverundertakethings.Ishouldjusthave
tofollow,andcontribute.Someonewouldalwayshavetolead.Someonewho
could go among people and comprehend their needs, and know how to go to
worktosupplythem.Ishoulddothewrongthingandmaketrouble——"
"Andmaybegetarrested——"
Theylaughedtogether.Theywerelittlemorethanchildren,afterall.
"Iknowthereare women who lead in such things," she went on. "They come
here quite often, and Father gives them a good deal. But they always seem so
self-possessed and capable. I stand in awe of them, and I always wonder how
theycametobemadesowiseandbrave,andwhymostofusaresodifferent.I
alwayswonder."
Theyoungmanregardedherverytenderly.
"Iamgladyouaredifferent,"hesaidearnestly."Mymotherisalittlelikethat,


andofcourseIthinktheworldofher.Still,Iamgladyouaredifferent."
Heleanedoverandliftedanendoflogwiththetongs.Abrightblazesprangup,
andforawhiletheywatcheditwithoutspeaking.ItseemedtoFrankWeatherby
thatnothingintheworldwassoworthwhileastobetherenearher—towatch
herthereinthefirelightthatlingeredalittletobringouttherichcoloringofher
rareyoungface,thenflickeredbytoglintamongthedeepframesalongthewall,
toloseitselfatlastamidtheheavyhangings.Hewascarefulnottorenewtheir
discussion, and hoped she had forgotten it. There had been no talk of these
mattersduringtheirearlieracquaintance,whenshehadbutjustreturnedwithher
parents from a long sojourn abroad. That had been at Lenox, where they had
filledtheautumnseasonwithhappyrecreation,andalove-makingwhichhehad
begun half in jest and then, all at once, found that for him it meant more than
anythingelseintheworld.Notthatanythinghadhithertomeantagreatdeal.He
hadbeenanonlyboy,withafondmother,andtherewasagreatdealofmoney
betweenthem.Ithadsomehowneverbeenapartofhiseducationthatthosewho
didnotneedtostriveshoulddoso.Hismotherwasawomanofideas,butthis
had not been one of them. Perhaps as a boy he had dreamed his dreams, but
somehowtherehadneverseemedareasonformakingthemreality.Theideaof
mental and spiritual progress, of being a benefactor of mankind was well
enough, but it was somehow an abstract thing—something apart from him—at
least,fromthedayofyouthandlove.


CHAPTERII
OUTINTHEBLOWYWETWEATHER
TheroomlightenedalittleandConstanceroseandwalkedtothewindow.
"Itisn'trainingsohard,anymore,"shesaid."IthinkIshallgoforawalkinthe
Park."
The young man by the fire looked a little dismayed. The soft chair and the
luxuriousroomweresomuchmorecomfortablethantheParkonsuchadayas
this.
"Don'tyouthinkwe'dbetterputitoff?"heasked,walkingoverbesideher."It's
stillrainingagooddeal,andit'squitewindy."
"IsaidthatIwasgoingforawalkinthePark,"thegirlreiterated."Ishallrun,
too.When IwasachildIalways lovedtorunthroughastorm.Itseemed like
flying. You can stay here by the fire and keep nice and cozy. Mamma will be
gladtocomeinandtalktoyou.Shewillnoturgeyoutodoandbethings.She
thinksyouwellenoughasyouare.Shesaysyouhaverepose,andthatyourest
her—shemeans,ofcourse,afterasessionwithme."
"Ihavethegreatestregardforyourmother—Imightevensaysympathy.Indeed,
when I consider the serene yet sterling qualities of both your parents, I find
myselfspeculatingontheoriginofyourown—eh—ratherunusualand,Ihasten
toadd,whollycharmingpersonality."
Shesmiled,buthethoughtalittlesadly.
"Iknow,"shesaid,"Iamatrial,and,oh,Iwanttobesuchacomforttothem!"
Thensheadded,somewhatirrelevantly,"ButFathermadehisfight,too.Itwasin
trade,ofcourse,butitwasasplendidbattle,andhewon.Hewasapoorboy,you
know,andthestrugglewasbitter.Youshouldstayandaskhimtotellyouabout
it.Hewillbehomepresently."
Headoptedherserioustone.
"I think myself I should stay and have an important talk with your father," he


said."Ihavebeengettingupcouragetospeakforsometime."
She affected not to hear, and presently they were out in the wild weather,
protected by waterproofs and one huge umbrella, beating their way toward the
Fifty-ninth Street entrance to Central Park. Not many people were there, and,
once within, they made their way by side paths, running and battling with the
wind,laughingandshoutinglikechildren,untilatlasttheydroppeddownona
wetbenchtorecoverbreath.
"Oh,"shepanted,"thatwasfine!HowIshouldliketobeinthemountainssuch
weatherasthis.Idreamofbeingtherealmosteverynight.Icanhardlywaittill
wego."
Hercompanionassentedratherdoubtfully.
"IhavebeeninthemountainsinMarch,"hesaid."Itwasprettynasty.Isuppose
youhavespentsummersthere.IbelieveyouwenttothePyrenees."
"ButIknowthemountainsinMarch,too—ineveryseason,andIlovethemin
allweathers.Ilovethestorms,whenthesnowandsleetandwindcomedriving
down, and the trees crack, and the roads are blocked, and the windows are
coveredwithice;whenthere'sabigdriftatthedoorthatyoumustclimbover,
and that stays there almost till the flowers bloom. And when the winter is
breaking,andthegreatrainscome,andthewind,—oh,it'snosuchlittlewindas
this, but wind that tears up big trees and throws them about for fun, and the
limbs fly, and it's dangerous to go out unless you look everywhere, and in the
nightsomethingstrikestheroof,andyouwakeupandliethereandwonderifthe
house itself won't be carried away soon, perhaps to the ocean, and turn into a
ship thatwillsailuntilitreaches acountrywherethe sun shinesand thereare
palmtrees,andmenwhowearturbans,andwheretherearemarblehouseswith
gold on them. And in that country where the little house might land, a lot of
people come down to the shore and they kneel down and say, 'The sea has
broughtaprincesstoruleoverus.'Thentheyputacrownonherheadandlead
hertooneofthemarbleandgoldhouses,soshecouldrulethecountryandlive
happyeverafter."
As the girl ran on, her companion sat motionless, listening—meanwhile
steadyingtheirbigumbrellatokeeptheirretreatcozy.Whenshepaused,hesaid:
"Ididnotknowthatyouknewthehillsinwinter.Youhaveseenandfeltmuch
morethanI.And,"headdedreflectively,"Ishouldnotthink,withsuchfancyas


yours,thatyouneedwantforavocation;youshouldwrite."
She shook her head rather gravely. "It is not fancy," she said, "at least not
imagination.Itisonlyreading.Everychildwithafairy-bookforcompanionship,
and nature, rides on the wind or follows subterranean passages to a regal
inheritance.Suchthingsmeannothingafterward.Ishallneverwrite."
They made their way to the Art Museum to wander for a little through the
galleries.IntheEgyptianroomtheylingeredbythoseglasscaseswheremenand
womenwhodiedfourthousandyearsagolieembalmedincountlesswrappings
and cryptographic cartonnage—exhibits, now, for the curious eye, waiting
whateverfurtherchangetheupheavalsofnationsortheprogressofanalienrace
maybringtopass.
They spoke in subdued voice as they regarded one slender covering which
enclosed"ALadyoftheHouseofArtun"—tryingtorebuildinfancyherlifeand
surroundings of that long ago time. Then they passed to the array of fabrics—
bitsofolddraperiesandclothing,evendolls'garments—thathadfoundthelight
after forty centuries, and they paused a little at the cases of curious lamps and
ornamentsandsymbolsofavanishedpeople.
"Oh,Ishouldliketoexplore,"shemurmured,asshelookedatthem."Ishould
like to lead an expedition to uncover ancient cities, somewhere in Egypt, or
India,orYucatan.Ishouldliketofindthingsrightwheretheywereleftbythe
peoplewholastsawthem—nothere,allarrangedandclassified,withnumbers
pastedonthem.IfIwereaman,Ishouldbeanexplorer,ormaybeadiscoverer
of new lands—places where no one had ever been before." She turned to him
eagerly,"Whydon'tyoubecomeanexplorer,andfindoldcitiesor—ortheNorth
Pole,orsomething?"
Mr.Weatherby,whowasstudyingafinescarab,nodded.
"Ihavethoughtofit,Ibelieve.Ithinktheideaappealedtomeonce.But,don't
you see, it takes a kind of genius for those things. Discoverers are born, I
imagine, as well as poets. Besides"—he lowered his voice to a pitch that was
meantfortenderness—"attheNorthPoleIshouldbesofarfromyou—unless,"
headded,reflectively,"wewentthereonourweddingjourney."
"Whichweareaslikelytodoastogoanywhere,"shesaid,rathercrossly.They
passedthroughthecorridorofstatuaryandupthestairwaytowanderamongthe
paintings of masters old and young. By a wall where the works of Van Dyck,


RembrandtandVelasquezhung,sheturnedonhimreproachfully.
"These men have left something behind them," she commented—"something
whichtheworldwillpreserveandhonor.Whatwillyouleavebehindyou?"
"I fear it won't be a picture," he said humbly. "I can't imagine one of my
paintings being hung here or any place else. They might hang the painter, of
course,thoughnotjusthere,Ifancy."
Inanotherroomtheylingeredbeforeapaintingofaboyandagirldrivinghome
thecows—Israel's"BashfulSuitor."Thegirlcontemplateditthroughhalf-closed
lids.
"Youdidnotlooklikethat,"shesaid."Youwereaself-possessedbigboy,with
smartclothes,andanairofownershipthatcomesofhavingalotofmoney.You
were a good-hearted boy, rather impulsive, I should think, but careless and
spoiled.HadIsraelchosenyouitwouldhavebeenthegirlwhowastimid,not
you."
Helaughedeasily.
"Now,howcanyoupossiblyknowwhatIlookedlikeasaboy?"hedemanded.
"Perhaps I was just such a slim, diffident little chap as that one. Time works
miracles,youknow."
"Buteventimehasitslimitations.Iknowperfectlywellhowyoulookedatthat
boy's age. Sometimes I see boys pass along in front of the house, and I say:
'There,hewasjustlikethat!'"
Frankfelthisheartgrowwarm.Itseemedtohimthatherconfessionshoweda
depthofinterestnotacknowledgedbefore.
"I'lltrytomakeamends,Constance,"hesaid,"bybeingalittlenearerwhatyou
would like to have me now," and could not help adding, "only you'll have to
decide just what particular thing you want me to be, and please don't have the
NorthPoleinit."
Out in the blowy wet weather again, by avenues and by-ways, they raced
throughthePark,climbinguptolookoveratthewind-drivenwateroftheold
reservoir, clambering down a great wet bowlder on the other side—the girl as
agileandsureoffootasaboy.ThentheypushedtowardEighthAvenue,missed
the entrance and wandered about in a labyrinth of bridle-paths and footways,


suddenlyfoundthemselvesbackatthebigbowlderagain,scrambledupitwarm
andflushedwiththeexertion,anddroppeddownforamomenttobreatheandto
gettheirbearings.
"Ialwaysdidgetlostinthisplace,"hesaid."Ihaveneverbeenabletocrossthe
Park and be sure just where I was coming out." Then they laughed together
happily,gladtobelost—gladitwasrainingandblowing—glad,aschildrenare
alwaysglad,tobealiveandtogether.
Theyweremoresuccessful,thistime,andpresentlytookanEighthAvenuecar,
goingdown—notbecausetheyespeciallywantedtogodown,butbecauseatthat
timeintheafternoonthedowncarswereemptier.Theyhadnoplansastowhere
theyweregoing,itbeingtheirhabitonsuchexcursionstogowithoutplansand
tocomewhenthespiritmoved.
TheytransferredattheColumbusstatue,andshestoodlookingupatitasthey
waitedforacar.
"That is my kind of a discoverer," she said; "one who sails out to find a new
world."
"Yes,"heagreed,"andtheverynexttimethereisanewworldtobediscoveredI
amgoingtodoit."
ThelightswerealreadycomingoutalongBroadway,thisgloomywetevening,
andthehomingthrongonthepavementswereshelteredbyagleaming,tossing
tideofumbrellas.FrankandConstancegotoutatMadisonSquare,attheWorth
monument,andlookeddowntowardthe"Flat-iron"—apillaroflight,looming
intothemist.
"Everywhere are achievements," said the girl. "That may not be a thing of
beauty, but it is a great piece of engineering. They have nothing like those
buildingsabroad—atleastIhavenotseenthem.Oh,thisisawonderfulcountry,
anditisthosesplendidengineerswhohavehelpedtomakeitso.Iknowofone
youngmanwhoisgoingtobeanengineer.Hewasjustapoorboy—sopoor—
andhasworkedhisway.Hewouldnevertakehelpfromanybody.Ishallseehim
this summer, when we go to the mountains. He is to be not far away. Oh, you
don'tknowhowproudIshallbeofhim,andhowIwanttoseehimandtellhim
so. Wouldn't you be proud of a boy like that, a—a son or—a brother, for
instance?"


Shelookedupathimexpectantly—adashofrainglisteningonhercheekandin
thelittletangleofhairabouthertemples.Sheseemedabitdisappointedthathe
wasnotmoreresponsive.
"Wouldn'tyouhonorhim?"shedemanded,"andlovehim,too—aboywhohad
madehiswayalone?"
"Oh, why, y-yes, of course—only, you know, I hope he won't spend his life
building these things"—indicating with his head the great building which they
werenowpassing,thegustsofwindtossingthemandmakingitimpossibleto
keeptheumbrellaopen.
"Oh,buthe'stobuildrailroadsandgreatbridges—nothousesatall."
"Um—well, that'sbetter.Bytheway,Ibelieve yougotothe Adirondacksthis
summer."
"Yes,Fatherhasacottage—hecallsitacamp—there.Thatis,hehad.Hesayshe
supposesit'sawreckbythistime.Hehasn'tseenit,youknow,foryears."
"IsupposethereisnolawagainstmygoingtotheAdirondacks,too,isthere?"
he asked, rather meekly. "You know, I should like to see that young man of
yours. Maybe I might get some idea of what I ought to be like to make you
proud of me. I haven't been there since I was a boy, but I remember I liked it
then. No doubt I'd like it this year if—if that young man is there. I suppose I
couldfindaplacetostaynotmorethantwentymilesorsofromyourcamp,so
youcouldsendword,youknow,anytimeyouweregettingproudofme."
Shelaughed—hethoughtalittlenervously.
"Why,yes,"sheadmitted,"there'sasortofhotelorlodgeorsomething,notfar
away.IknowthatfromFather.Hesaidwemighthavetostaythereawhileuntil
ourcampisready.Oh,butthistalkofthemountainsmakesmewanttobethere.
IwishIwerestartingto-night!"
It seemed a curious place to discuss a summer's vacation—under a big windtossedumbrella,alongBroadwayonaMarchevening.Perhapstheincongruity
of it became more manifest with the girl's last remark, for her companion
chuckled.
"Prettydisagreeableupthereto-night,"heobjected;"besides,Ithoughtyouliked
allthisafewminutesago."


"Yes, oh, yes; I do, of course! It's all so big and bright and wonderful, though
afterallthereisnothinglikethewoods,andthewindandraininthehills."
Whatastrangecreatureshewas,hethought.Theworldwassobigandnewto
her,shewasconfusedanddisturbedbythewonderofitanditspossibilities.She
longedtohaveapartinitall.Shewouldsettledownpresentlyandseethingsas
theywere—notasshethoughttheywere.Hewasnotaltogetherhappyoverthe
thoughtoftheyoungmanwhohadmadehiswayandwastobeacivilengineer.
Hehadnotheardofthisfriendbefore.Doubtlessitwassomeoneshehadknown
inchildhood.HewaswillingthatConstanceshouldbeproudofhim;thatwas
rightandproper,buthehopedshewouldnotbetooproudortoopersonalinher
interest. Especially if the young man was handsome. She was so likely to be
impulsive, even extreme, where her sympathies were concerned. It was so
difficulttoknowwhatshewoulddonext.
Constance,meanwhile,hadbeendoingsomethinkingandobservingonherown
account. Now she suddenly burst out: "Did you notice the headlines on the
news-stand we just passed? The bill that the President has just vetoed? I don't
knowjustwhatthebillis,butFatherissoagainstit.He'llthinkthePresidentis
fineforvetoingit!"Amomentlatersheburstouteagerly,"Oh,whydon'tyougo
in for politics and do something great like that? A politician has so many
opportunities.Iforgotallaboutpolitics."
Helaughedoutright.
"Trytoforgetitagain,"heurged."Politicianshaveopportunities,asyousay;but
some of the men who have improved what seemed the best ones have gone to
jail."
"Butothershadtosendthemthere.Youcouldbeoneofthenobleones!"
"Yes,ofcourse,butyouseeI'vejustmadeupmymindtoworkmywaythrough
aschooloftechnologyandbecomeacivilengineer,soyou'llbeproudofme—
that is, after I've uncovered a few buried cities and found the North Pole. I
couldn't do those things so well if I went into political reform." Then they
laughed again, inconsequently, and so light-hearted she seemed that Frank
wonderedifhermoreseriousmoodswerenotforthemostpartmake-believe,to
teasehim.
AtUnionSquaretheycrossedbySeventeenthStreetbacktoFifthAvenue.When
theyhadtackedtheirwaynorthwardforadozenormoreblocks,thecheerofan


elaboratedining-roomstreamedoutonthewetpavement.
"It'sagoodwhiletilldinner,"Frankobserved."Ifyoursternparentswouldnot
mind,Ishouldsuggestthatwegointhereandhave,letmesee—somethinghot
and not too filling—I think an omelette soufflé would be rather near it, don't
you?"
"Wonderful!" she agreed, "and, do you know, Father said the other day—of
course,he'sagentlesoulandtooconfiding—butIheardhimsaythatyouwere
onepersonhewasperfectlywillingIshouldbewith,anywhere.Idon'tseewhy,
unlessitisthatyouknowthecitysowell."
"Mr.Deane'sjudgmentisnottobelightlyquestioned,"avowedtheyoungman,
astheyturnedinthedirectionofthelights.
"Besides," she supplemented, "I'm so famished. I should never be able to wait
fordinner.Icansmellthatomelettenow.AndmayIhavepie—pumpkinpie—
just one piece? You know we never had pie abroad, and my whole childhood
wasmeasuredbypumpkinpies.MayIhavejustasmallpiece?"
Half an hour later, when they came out and again made their way toward the
Deanemansion,thewindhaddiedandtherainhadbecomeamilddrizzle.As
they neared the entrance of her home they noticed a crouching figure on the
lowerstep.Thelightfromacrossthestreetshowedthatitwasawoman,dressed
inshabbyblack,wearingadrabbledhat,decoratedwithafewmiserableflowers.
She hardly noticed them, and her face was heavy and expressionless. The girl
shrankawayandwasreluctanttoenter.
"It'sallright,"hewhisperedtoher."ThatistheIslandtype.Shewantsnothing
butmoney.It'sachanceforphilanthropyofaverysimplekind."Hethrustabill
into the poor creature's hand. The girl's eye caught a glimpse of its
denomination.
"Oh,"sheprotested,"youshouldnotgivelikethat.I'vehearditdoesmuchmore
harmthangood."
"I know," he assented. "My mother says so. But I've never heard that she or
anybodyelsehasdiscoveredawayreallytohelpthesepeople."
They stood watching the woman, who had muttered something doubtless
intendedforthanksandwastotteringslowlydownthestreet.Thegirlheldfast
to her companion's arm, and it seemed to him that she drew a shade closer as


theymountedthesteps.
"Isupposeit'sso,aboutdoingthemharm,"shesaid,"andIdon'tthinkyouwill
ever lead as a philanthropist. Still, I'm glad you gave her the money. I think I
shallletyoustaytodinnerforthat."


CHAPTERIII
THEDEEPWOODSOFENCHANTMENT
ThatgreenwhichisknownonlytoJunelayuponthehills.Algonquin,Tahawus
and Whiteface—but a little before grim with the burden of endless years—
rousingfromtheirlong,whitesleep,hadputon,forthemillionthtime,perhaps,
thefleetingmantleofyouth.Springlayonthemountaintops—summerfilledthe
valleys,withallthegradationsbetween.
To the young man who drove the hack which runs daily between Lake Placid
andSpruceLodgethescenerywasnotespeciallyinteresting.Hehaddrivenover
theroadregularlysinceearlierinthemonth,andhadseenthehillsacquireglory
so gradually that this day to him was only as other days—a bit more pleasant
thansome,buthardlymoreexciting.Withhiscompanion—hisonepassenger—
itwasadifferentmatter.Mr.FrankWeatherbyhadoccupiedaNewYorksleeper
thenightbefore,awakingonlyatdaybreaktofindthetrainpuffingheavilyupa
long Adirondack grade—to look out on a wet tangle of spruce, and fir, and
hardwood, and vine, mingled with great bowlders and fallen logs, and
everywhere the emerald moss, set agleam where the sunrise filtered through.
Withhiscurtainraisedalittle,hehadwatcheditfromthewindowofhisberth,
andtherealizationhadgrownuponhimthatnowhereelseintheworldwasthere
suchawood,thoughhewonderedifthemarvelandenchantmentofitmightnot
lie in the fact that somewhere in its green depths he would find Constance
Deane.
Hehaddressedhurriedlyandthroughtheremainderofthedistancehadoccupied
therearplatform,drinkinginthegloryofitall—thebrisk,life-givingair—the
mysteryandsplendoroftheforest.Hehadbeenhereonce,tenyearsago,asa
boy, but then he had been chiefly concerned with the new rod he had brought
and the days of sport ahead. He had seen many forests since then, and the
wonderofthisonespoketohimnowinalanguagenotcomprehendedinthose
far-offdays.
DuringthedriveacrosstheopenfarmcountrywhichliesbetweenLakePlacid
andSpruceLodgehehadconfidedcertainofhisimpressionstohiscompanion
—a pale-haired theological student, who as driver of the Lodge hack was


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